Mariano García Calatayud, a 75-year-old Spanish volunteer humanitarian worker, was forcibly disappeared by the occupying Russian authorities on March 19. 2022 in the Ukrainian city of Kherson. He disappeared after he attended a peaceful protest against the occupation. Russian authorities have been holding him incommunicado since then, and first officially acknowledged his detention in April 2023 only but gave no legal grounds for it. In May 2023, independent Russian media sources published testimonies of former prisoners who confirmed hie poor health and claimed they’d witnessed Mariano García Calatayud being tortured by prison guards.
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Valeriy Georgievich Petrov
Chief Military Prosecutor Pereulok Holzunova 14, Moscow 119160 Russian Federation
Fax: +7 (495) 693 13 60
Dear Chief Military Prosecutor,
I am writing to demand the immediate release of Mariano García Calatayud, a Spanish citizen who was forcibly disappeared by the occupying Russian forces in Kherson on March 19, 2022.
After 13 months of uncertainty about his fate and whereabouts, the Black Sea Fleet Military Prosecutor’s Office acknowledged, in a letter to a lawyer, his incarceration in a pretrial detention centre in Simferopol “to verify information about [his possible] involvement in the commission of actions aimed at causing damage to the security of the Russian Federation.” No legitimate grounds for his detention were given in the letter, and no further details were provided, since they purportedly constitute a state secret.
According to media reports, Mariano García Calatayud has now been in incommunicado detention all this time, media have reported, quoting eyewitness accounts have reported his torture and other ill-treatment, including repeated electrocution and being bitten by a guard dog, and his poor, deteriorating health.
There are reports of hundreds of civilians from occupied Ukrainian territories who have similarly been forcibly disappeared by the Russian authorities and remain in unlawful, incommunicado detention.
I urge you to immediately release Mariano García Calatayud and give him free passage to a destination of his choice, so he can be reunited with his family, unless he is charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offence and tried according to international fair trial standards; to effectively investigate all allegations of his and other detainees’ torture and other ill-treatment and ensure the accountability of all those found responsible in fair trial proceedings; immediately disclose the fate and whereabouts of all persons detained by the occupying Russian forces in Ukraine, ensure their immediate contact with their families and a lawyer of their choice, clarify their legal status, and release every person held in detention without legitimate legal grounds.